Twenty years is a long time when you’re looking ahead at them. But, wow, they sure seem like a blink of the eye when you’re looking back.
We started E-g when most of the founding partners were still in their 20s. Back then, leaving stable, well-paying jobs only to launch into the unknown abyss of starting a company seemed … exactly like the thing we should do. Life has a way of mellowing you out. Looking back now, we’re amazed at how fearless (even seemingly reckless) we were then. But, there was a crystal-clear calling, and we couldn’t help but chase after it. It seemed so natural. And it wasn’t just some “entrepreneurial drive” – there was something spiritual about it. There still is.
Bob Seger pondered, “Twenty years now, where’d they go? Twenty years, I don’t know. I sit and I wonder sometimes where they’ve gone. And sometimes late at night, when I’m bathed in the firelight, the moon comes callin’ in a ghostly way, and I recall… I recall.”
Well, we stand here today as owners, knee-high in the stream of time between August 2000 and whatever’s ahead of us, and the most remarkable thing – the thing that stands out to us with the heart-leaping prominence of the Tetons – is God’s faithfulness. That’s what we recall.
Unicorns and Rainbows? Not exactly.
Not long after we left the stability we had known – stability that our spouses and children rested comfortably in – the “dot-com” bubble burst. And not long after that, our major client abruptly and unexpectedly shut down a project. Nearly two-dozen of our E-gineers rolled off and were no longer billing. There were only a few other people in the company at the time and most weren’t on client projects. Revenue plummeted. Additionally, our office was so small because our work was almost exclusively done on the client site, and we just didn’t have enough room for everyone after that project was canceled.
This was a potentially devastating event. What did we do? We prayed a lot. We assured our folks that we would get through it. We didn’t let anyone go – in fact, we converted a subcontractor, who had recently moved to Indiana, to a full-time employee. It was counterintuitive from conventional wisdom’s perspective, but it was the right thing to do. (And he was crazy enough to accept!)
What else did we do? We walked down the hall in the midst of that chaos and sought a larger office space to accommodate everyone. We had no intention of folding because we were convinced there was more work to do. In every way you can imagine, we leaned in on God. And He saw us through.
About That Faithful Farmer Story…
You’ve probably heard the story: There were two farmers. Each prayed for rain. But only one went out into the field to prepare for it. Which one of them had the greater faith?
We hear that story and most often our thoughts remain on the farmers. We recognize the greater faithfulness of the farmer who went out to prepare the field. But instead of resting on the faithful farmer, our eyes should be lifted up to the faithfulness of the One that brought the rain. That’s the most astonishing thing about that story to me.
So How Do We Live?
We’ve faced many other difficult seasons over the years. Shoot, we’re all living through a historic time together right now. How are we getting through this? For us, we draw from the enduring faithfulness of God. We look back at what He’s carried us through, and we trust Him to bring us through present circumstances and beyond.
So as owners, when we tell those stories around here, our point isn’t to draw attention to our feeble, mustard seed-sized sliver of faith. Our point is to draw attention to the One who has been faithful. We mean to say, as another who stood long ago and said, “Till now the LORD has helped us,” with the implication, “And He will continue helping us.” Or to sing the line from a favorite song of mine, “This is my anthem, this is my song – the theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long: God has been faithful, He will be again; His loving compassion, it knows no end. All I have need of, His hand will provide. He’s always been faithful to me.”
The muse for our faithfulness is a God who has faithfully brought us through 20 years of working alongside incredible people and serving dear clients. Because of this personal history, and immeasurably more, we know He will always be faithful.
Success Is Faithfulness
So we strive to be faithful and steadfast to that original calling and vision. If we manage to do that by His grace, that would be Success to us. May He build a Legacy out of it and touch countless lives for decades to come!
[I’m typically very careful how I communicate matters of faith at E-g. The owners all share a Christian faith, but we do not represent everyone at E-g. Some folks have other faiths, and some folks would not associate themselves with any faith. But from time to time, we speak from the faith that we share, in order to be honest and transparent and “true to ourselves,” as they say. Thank you for your grace in that.]